Ingenico and Paymentsense talk Link/2500 and instore innovation

Despite the prevailing move towards mobile, instore retail is still a huge part of commerce, and still requires investment and innovation.

Nobody knows more about this than Ingenico, the global leader in instore seamless payment solutions. You’ve probably interacted with at least one Ingenico POS system today. In partnership with Paymentsense, Europe’s largest Merchant Services provider, Ingenico are launching the Link/2500, new cloud-based instore POS solution that aims to speed-up and simplify payments for both retailers and their customers.

Guillaume Andre, Head of Marketing, Ingenico Northern Europe and Russell Masterton, Ingenico Account Director for Paymentsense, sat down with PaymentEye to discuss the Link/2500, and the continued need to revolutionize instore payments.

The focus of innovation has shifted more towards mobile and online of late. Why is instore still such an important area for innovation?

Russell Masterson – Precisely because there has been that shift recently towards mobile and online, that’s why instore is such an important area for innovation. Particularly with this kind of solution which is aimed more at smaller retailers, tier three and downwards, who may not have the same level of online brand presence as larger retailers. For those retailers, the instore experience is everything, their only chance to give their customers an exceptional experience when interacting with that brand. I think the other thing to remember is that, whilst there is this focus on online and mobile today, what consumers want is to have a frictionless experience, regardless of whether they’re online or instore. Although the customer may begin a transaction online or in a mobile experience, they may also go instore to buy or collect a product. The customer’s relationship with that brand has to continue seamlessly through both experiences, and if you have a bad experience with a brand at any stage that sticks with you.

Guillaume Andre – Customers now demand an exceptional experience when they walk into a store. Staff are expected to answer inventory inquiries instantly and offer home-delivery options. When it comes to payment, customers want to access multiple payment methods and an option of currencies.

How does Link/2500 differ from the current standard of wireless POS systems?

RM – What we expect to see with this type of product is not necessarily that it will be the only payment solution within a retailer, what we think is that it’s quite complimentary. One use case for this would be a small retailer who has a counter top payment solution, but wants to improve their instore payment experience by introducing a queue-busting solution, such as a mobile POS like the Link/2500.

GA – I agree; it will not be the only payment system but will act as a complimentary solution used to reduce queues, serving consumers in lane or at the table. With this product, the store assistant – empowered with a mobile Point-of-Sale – advises customers and then completes the purchase in flight with the customer offering a more personalised, assisted sale.

Beyond the physical improvements, what is more advantageous about cloud-based system behind the Link/2500?

RM – The cloud-based system driving the Link/2500 is called Connect, provided by Paymentsense. It’s much easier to deploy, from the merchant’s perspective. The installation process is much more straightforward because there’s no requirement to go in and install software within their infrastructure. Equally, you have a level of remote management – if you need to make a change to the solution or update the software that’s all done on the server’s side, without going into the merchant’s environment. There’s also the ability to monitor the solution in real time, so any problems are flagged up and can be dealt with immediately, potentially before the merchant has seen any impact. Furthermore, it allows for much more flexibility, such as providing a many-to-many relationship, in a much more transparent manner.

How widespread do you predict adoption of the Link/2500 to be?

RM – This isn’t a speculative solution. It’s driven by demand. We have been working with Paymentsense for a few months to bring this solution to market. They are partners with many of the EPOS solution providers who are reselling this solution and there is a great demand for it amongst those providers. As the general shift towards tablet POS takes place, we will see this really pick up.

GA – We think this type of solution will grow with tablet POS systems. As smartphones continue to transform consumers’ lives, the rise of this new generation of cloud-connected POS revolutionises commerce enabling merchants to spend more time helping customers, while they accomplish business tasks more efficiently. For small businesses it’s a door to access business solutions that were accessible only to Enterprise grade retailers. Ingenico is very active in supporting that new generation of POS. No later than a few weeks ago we launched Axium, which enables merchants to receive payments through a tablet solution.

What’s the next area in need of innovation in the omnichannel retail experience?

RM – That’s a very good question. I think it’s worth highlighting that omnichannel is still very much in its infancy. We’re now starting to see some of the larger retail enterprises getting a bit of a handle on it and offer a true omnichannel experience – it’s happening but it’s still quite young. Once the larger retailers start to adopt these advances, the challenge is then to figure how out smaller, independent businesses and SMEs can keep up. For me, that’s the next important step – how do we, as an industry, help these smaller enterprises to compete by providing scalable solutions that are affordable and allow them the opportunity to innovate?

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